Tennessee leaders respond to rescinding of DACA

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Nashville Mayor Megan Barry:

The decision by President Trump to slam the door on hundreds of thousands of DREAMers across the nation is heartbreaking. Many of these children and young adults who are DACA recipients have only ever known the United States as their home. They deserve the chance to gain an education, earn a living, and continue contributing to our community without fear or threat of deportation. I would urge Congress to recognize this and immediately pass legislation that restores DACA as the law of the land.

Stephanie Teatro, Co-Director of Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition:

The president’s decision to terminate the DACA program is incomprehensibly cruel, reckless, and immoral. How can the president believe the country is better off with this generation of young Americans in the deportation pipeline instead of in the classroom or workforce? This callous action is a betrayal of our country’s values and who we say we are.

Thousands of business, faith, education, and civic leaders have been urging the president to keep this critical program in tact, but instead he sided with the most extreme and fringe voices in his administration. It is now up to Congress to move swiftly to restore protections for these young immigrants and mitigate the devastation this president is causing to communities across the country.

Senator Bob Corker: 

The president is right to want this issue to be resolved legislatively. Hopefully, while addressing it, we also will deal with a myriad of other issues that need to be corrected with our broken immigration system, including enhancing enforcement and security measures.

Senator Lamar Alexander:

Just as President Nixon went to China, President Trump uniquely can lead a revision of our immigration laws that secures our borders, improves our system of legal immigration and solves problems such as the 800,000 children who grew up here, but were brought here illegally. I voted for such a law in 2013 and am willing to work with the president to do that again.

Congressman Steve Cohen:

President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is heartless, illogical and un-American. DACA is a commonsense, compassionate program that helps protect from deportation young people who were brought to the United States by no choice of their own. According to the Center for American Progress, 95% of these DREAMers are currently either working or in school. The decision is not only harmful for the DREAMers, but also for America which relies on them for a more effective and productive workforce. I urge Congress to move quickly to protect these bright and talented young people who have significantly contributed to what makes America great.

Congressman Diane Black

President Obama sidestepped Congress by implementing the DACA (Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals) program – there are three co-equal branches of our government and it is not up to the President to write laws. It was unconstitutional, plain and simple. I continuously fought against President Obama’s amnesty-first agenda and irresponsible display of executive overreach. Cancelling this program returns legislative authority to Congress and sends the message that we will enforce our immigration laws with respect to the millions of immigrants who choose to come to this country legally.

Congressman Marsha Blackburn:

President Trump continues to prioritize our nation’s security and I applaud this latest decision to uphold the rule of law our country was founded upon. Executive Orders, such as DACA, offer the false hope of amnesty that led to a surge of illegal immigration and stole jobs from American citizens by giving illegal aliens work permits. This is why the House twice passed measures I introduced to freeze the DACA program. President Obama’s ‘pen and phone’ approach used illegal aliens as pawns in a political game, circumvented congressional authority, and cemented his legacy of lawlessness. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the coming months to fix our broken immigration system and establish laws that encourage immigrants and their families to come here legally.

Rep. David Kustoff (TN-08):

Today, the Trump Administration called on Congress to responsibly rescind the DACA program, an unlawful immigration policy enacted by President Obama through an abuse of executive authority. The fact of the matter is that Congress writes laws, not the President, and it is critical that we restore the separation of powers and defend the Constitution. It is important to note that the announcement today from Attorney General Sessions does not revoke permits immediately, which would have been the likely outcome if President Trump allowed DACA to go to the courts before sensibly addressing the problem. Now, Congress will have a period of time to find a permanent, common-sense legislative solution. I stand ready to work with President Trump and my colleagues in Congress on comprehensive immigration reform that prioritizes border security and the rule of law.

Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of ACLU of Tennessee:

Today, the government and President Trump threw the lives and futures of 800,000 Dreamers and their families into disarray, and injected chaos and uncertainty into thousands of workplaces and communities across America. In Tennessee alone, more than 8,300 of our neighbors used their DACA status to give back to our country in innumerable ways: they are our doctors, soldiers, and students. Our neighbors, family, and friends.

Now, the fate of 800,000 young adults who were part of DACA nationwide, who call this country their home, lies in the hands of Congress. Lawmakers such as Senators Corker and Alexander, Congressman Duncan and others must decide if they are on the side of Dreamers and our country’s foundation or on the side of the ugly forces that helped to end DACA. While this is a hard day for the immigrant community and America as a whole, we will continue to fight. Years of courage, sacrifices, and organizing won the DACA program in 2012. Nothing will deter these Americans and our allies in Tennessee and across the country from continuing to fight on behalf of their futures and holding those responsible accountable.

Metro Nashville Public Schools

Former President Lyndon B. Johnson once shared, “If we succeed, it will not be because of what we have, but it will be because of what we are; not because of what we own, but, rather because of what we believe.” In light of President Trump’s announced intention to end Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Metro Nashville Public Schools wants to reassert our belief that all school-aged students should have access to an excellent education, and thus access to enhanced opportunities, without regard to their immigration status or the immigration status of their parents.

Students affected by ending DACA include high school students who are presently participating in the program and younger students (age 10-14) who will be eligible upon turning 15. Moreover, and perhaps more tragic, it exposes parents of United States citizens to deportation even though the parent arrived in this country as a child and the United States may be the only home he/she has known. In effect, their children are second generation Americans and the living embodiment of the American dream. Nevertheless, the rescission of DACA will either require these young U.S. citizens to leave the country or be separated from their parents despite their parents’ longstanding residency and contribution to our community.

The intended rescission of DACA denies our schools and communities many ambitious, intelligent, and highly-motivated students, parents, teachers and staff and will result in fear and uncertainty for many of the families and students we serve. Plainly stated, the result of the President’s announced ending to DACA is unacceptable. We call on Congress to enact the Dream Act or otherwise codify DACA with legislation immediately.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais

Any solution to illegal immigration must include border security and domestic law enforcement, and Congress must write the law. For that reason, federal courts struck down the former president’s unconstitutional orders, and I support Kate’s Law, defunding sanctuary cities, a border wall, and a legal, merit-based immigration system that works better for American citizens, workers and taxpayers. Our focus should be Americans out of work, underpaid, or concerned for their safety, because of unfettered illegal immigration and related border crime.

Nicholas S. Zeppos, Vanderbilt University Chancellor:

Ending DACA is a mistake. Without an alternative in place, it closes the door to young student scholars and leaders raised and educated in the United States and cuts short their potential to contribute to their communities and our national economy. We urge and stand ready to support swift enactment of legislation, such as the BRIDGE Act, that allows these young people to reach their dreams in the only nation they’ve ever called home.

Our mission of teaching and discovery demands a vibrant academic environment supported by a culture of curiosity, diversity, access and inclusion. To that end, we will continue to support and embrace our students regardless of immigration status, citizenship or nationality.

Trevecca Nazarene University

As a Christian university, Trevecca exists to educate all students who choose to continue their education in our community. We desire to invest in, mentor and support our students, fulfilling our mission of providing education for leadership and service. Echoing the statements issued earlier this year by the Church of the Nazarene’s Board of General Superintendents and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU) regarding DACA, we believe Christ compels us to love and care for all students, knowing all people are made in the image of God. We desire Trevecca Nazarene University to be a community characterized by love, compassion, and hospitality.

Dr. Mike Looney, Superintendent of Williamson County Schools: